Gardeners! Hear me now! You growers and guardians of all things green: be you patio potters, earth movers, or indoor horticulturists; all you wheelers of barrows, sowers of seed, and hoers of ... uh ... hoes—Now. Is our time.
Society around us is crumbling.
Or is it?
Nay. Not under our watch, it's not.
Go forth, all you thumbs of green, all you might-have-been Monty Dons, all you latter-day Le Nôtres with suddenly more time on your hands and nowhere in all the world to go—go now! Go as far as current federal or gubernatorial edicts allow—which may only get you to the curb or the windowsill, but still—go forth and unleash what glorious hell your dirty hands have in store for this quarantined, pent-up, panicking planet.
It's time for some good old-fashioned homegrown garden therapy.
But not just for ourselves.
For if there's anything the last couple of weeks have taught us, it's that no matter how introverted or plant-centric we gardeners tend, we don't amount to much in this world without our friends, families, neighbors, coworkers, and society-at-large to patch-up and knit together the more threadbare portions of our lives. This thing we do in the garden, mostly for ourselves, largely by ourselves, is only possible and—as it turns out—only meaningful, in the context of our greater community. And although gardening may provide a blessed and much-needed escape for some of us even during the best of times, it is now, when the kid gloves come off and our days are battered back and forth between boredom and lurching fear and uncertainty, that we glimpse a garden's true potential. Like some common weed long picked for childhood posies suddenly found to possess incredible curative properties, let us now unleash the hidden, salving power of our hobby.
This is the year to make your garden spectacular and, more than that, to share it with the world. Whether you are a seasoned gardening vet who finally has that bit of extra time to bring it all together, an amateur now freed of excuses to not develop your passion, or a total newbie with a bit of curiosity and nothing better to do, I challenge you to make your little space beautiful. And do not do this just for yourself (though you will certainly reap the rewards); do it as a gift for the street you live on, your neighborhood, your town, your community. Give this world something lovely to behold.
In doing so, our gardens, yards, balconies, and windowsills (open your blinds!) shall spark outwards in a glorious sensory jolt to bleary-eyed passers-by. Let our plants speak and reach out where social-distancing now forbids. May our blooms be fragrant and friendly, our foliage lush and soothing, that all neighbors, dog-walkers, gym-deprived joggers, exercisers and exorcists of school-less children, laid-off lost-souls, hair-tearing parents, and every brand of shacked-up shut-in out perambulating for their very sanity might have cause for a deep breath or two with which to steel themselves for whatever the hell may come tomorrow (good grief, what else is there?). Garden like you never have before, like the racing pulse of our febrile society depends on it.
Do this with the conviction that we still, despite everything, have the power to bring good into the world.
Now go forth, gardeners.
I expect greatness.
(A reminder during this time when supporting our local independent garden centers becomes difficult or impossible: consider purchasing gift cards for future use. For your immediate needs consider the many great small online businesses which offer mail-order gardening supplies, from seeds and plants to tools and artwork. A few of my favorites are Territorial SeedCompany for seed, Far Reaches Farm for rare and unusual perennials, and Raintree Nursery for fruit trees, bushes, and all manner of cool edible plants.)